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Thursday, 13 August 2020

Virus-hit UK economy shrinks 19% in three months to May

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jul 2020
Britain
A customer receives a Gelish manicure at Lily's Nails & Beauty on Clerkenwell Road in London, Monday, July 13, 2020. (Photo: AP)
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Britain's economy slumped by almost a fifth in the three months to May compared with the prior December-February period, as the coronavirus lockdown ravaged activity, official data showed Tuesday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said GDP fell by 19.1 percent in the three months to May "as government restrictions on movement dramatically reduced economic activity".

Output however grew by 1.8 percent in May from April as the government began to ease restrictions, particularly boosting construction and manufacturing.

Nevertheless, the UK economy is far from recovery after record falls suffered in March and April, when Britain was in full lockdown in a bid to halt the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

The economy remains about 24.5 percent below its size in February before the pandemic spread.

"Manufacturing and house-building showed signs of recovery as some businesses saw staff return to work," said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, in reference to the May data.

"Despite this, the economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck.

"In the important services sector we saw some pick-up in retail, which saw record online sales.

"However, with lockdown restrictions remaining in place, many other services remained in the doldrums, with a number of areas seeing further declines."

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